Following Neil Hamilton’s ousting as Leader of UKIP Wales’ Assembly Group, we feel it is only right to recap UKIP Wales’ ‘greatest hits’ under Neil Hamilton.
1. UKIP Wales started as they meant to go on in the Assembly, with infighting and coups. Neil Hamilton had barely been shown his new office when he decided to oust Nathan Gill as leader of UKIP Wales’ Assembly Group. Having shown such loyalty to his predecessor, Neil Hamilton must be shocked his fellow UKIP Assembly Members have ousted him (link).
2.Hamilton wasted no time showing Wales the kind of party UKIP Wales were going to be in the Assembly under his leadership. Hamilton used his maiden Senedd speech to call both Kirsty Williams and Leanne Wood “political concubines in Carwyn’s hareem.” This kind of misogynistic language demeans the entire Assembly. It is particularly galling Hamilton used this language to refer to Kirsty Williams and Leanne Wood, given they were both busy making great contributions to Welsh politics whilst Hamilton was busy enjoying being a disgraced politician (link).
3.Shockingly, the people of Wales didn’t seem to appreciate this speech as the following month he was named the least-liked political leader in Welsh history. His rating of 2.1 (out of 10) was called “quite extraordinarily poor,” by Professor Roger Awan Scully with no-one else scoring nearly as badly (link).
4.It only took UKIP four months to lose their first Assembly Member as ousted leader Nathan Gill left UKIP’s Assembly Group in August 2016. Gill cited infighting within UKIP Wales as he announced his resignation. It’s good to see UKIP Wales have put those issues behind them (link).
5.In March last year Hamilton made another offensive and idiotic comment in the Senedd, shouting “suicide is always an option” at Eluned Morgan as she discussed Brexit. Dangerous remarks like this only serve to trivialise suicide and increase the stigma surrounding mental illness. Whilst Neil Hamilton was making these remarks, we were working to end mental health discrimination (link).
6.The next month UKIP Wales lost their second Assembly Member as Mark Reckless defected to join the Welsh Conservative Assembly Group. This meant UKIP Wales managed to lose two AMs within a year of being elected (link).
7.In December Gareth Bennett followed his leader’s example by making a hateful and disgusting speech on transgender rights in the Senedd. Having previously been famous for comments linking immigrants to litter, Bennett hit the headlines again. This time Bennett claimed that if society continues appeasing the nuttiest elements of the transgender movement, we will face total implosion. We are proud that whilst Bennett was making these comments we were standing up for the rights of Transgender people to live their lives safely, freely and without this kind of bigotry (link).
8.Following Nathan Gill’s resignation as an Assembly Member, Mandy Jones was supposed to take his place a UKIP’s AM for North Wales. But a row between Jones and the other UKIP AMs meant UKIP AMs didn’t want Jones as part of their group and Jones didn’t want to be part of the UKIP Wales group, leaving Jones as an independent. Because of the row, Jones accused UKIP AMs with the exception of Caroline Jones of bullying her (link).
9.Just last month Hamilton used the 50th anniversary of Enoch Powell’s ‘rivers of blood’ speech to defend Powell’s racist rhetoric, claiming he’s been “proved right by events.” That Hamilton would choose to defend such a man is astonishing, but says a great deal about UKIP Wales. None of Hamilton’s UKIP colleagues in the Assembly condemned or criticised Hamilton for his remarks (link).
10.Last but not least, earlier this month Michelle Brown was suspended for a week from the Senedd for using racist language against Chuka Umunna. It seems that Hamilton is not the only UKIP Wales AM who has a problem with racism, although astonishingly Hamilton defended Brown in the Senedd. Unfortunately, this shows the problems with UKIP Wales go far deeper than just Neil Hamilton (link).
From day one in the Assembly UKIP Wales have been a shambolic, hateful and disgraceful party. The fact they replaced many committed, talented and caring Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Members is heart-breaking. But you can help us kick out these UKIP AMs in 2021 and return another group of effective Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Members in their place.